St. Louis–based <A HREF="http://www.charter.com">Charter Communications, Inc</A>. has become the first cable provider in the US to rollout an all-digital network, according to a January 16 announcement. The new service was implemented without the use of analog set-top boxes, using an existing HFC (hybrid fiber-coaxial) network. The service, in Charter's Long Beach, CA system, combines digital programming with basic analog programming. The bandwidth-intensive service is made possible by use of a digital compression system consisting of "<A HREF="http://www.harmonicinc.com">Harmonic</A> DiviCom MV 50 variable bit-rate encoders and third-generation DiviTrackXE closed loop statistical multiplexing system," according to the announcement. For Charter subscribers, the new digital service can be activated "remotely and instantly" without the need for in-person service calls, said Charter vice president of engineering Wayne Davis.